Canadian Broadcasting Corporation grows programmatic fill rate by 30% with Dynamic Ad Insertion
Case Study

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation grows programmatic fill rate by 30% with Dynamic Ad Insertion

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) delivers news, lifestyle, entertainment, and sports content to audiences stretching from Vancouver to Newfoundland. Constantly evolving its business and underlying technology since 1936, CBC strives to engage viewers wherever they may be — whether that’s on the web, a mobile device, linear TV, or, more recently, on CBC Gem, a direct-to-consumer streaming app.

Expanding into new areas

In the midst of its digital transformation, CBC was focused on achieving a key milestone: catering to its user base by introducing ads into environments like Connected TVs (CTV) — where standard client-side ad insertion, or the process of a video player requesting an ad from an ad server, doesn’t exist. To bring ads onto these platforms, the team needed a server-side ad insertion solution that could stitch ads directly into video streams for both over-the-top (OTT) live and on-demand content.

“It was very important to us that our ad experience was broadcast-quality and relevant, to compliment the premium experience our users were engaging with.”

Jeff MacPherson, Director of Monetization and Services, CBC

It’s especially challenging to effectively monetize live broadcasts on OTT streaming content. Millions of live viewers means ad request spikes, which can cause stream failure and have a negative impact on the viewing experience. For the CBC team, offering a quality experience is a top priority that needs to be properly balanced with revenue growth. “As we innovated our digital streaming strategy, we also needed to identify how to grow revenue across all these devices while balancing the user experience,” says Jeff MacPherson, Director of Monetization Platform and Services at CBC.

Easy implementation across properties

For nearly a decade, CBC has been serving ads with Google Ad Manager, and its teams are deeply familiar with Google’s advertising technology. When deciding how to launch seamless and relevant ads across screens, CBC turned to Google’s Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI).

The broadcaster’s OTT team and Ad Manager’s DAI team paired up to implement DAI’s server-side ad insertion solution in CBC’s properties. With its lean and effective team, CBC could quickly prioritize and implement DAI for its business.

A better experience for both users and the organization

By choosing to integrate Ad Manager’s DAI, CBC delivered a great viewing experience to its audiences — one that felt as authentic and familiar as television, with seamless transitions between content and ads and fewer playback issues across live and on-demand content.

CBC also reaped a host of benefits throughout the organization. By enabling the content to reach all sorts of digital devices (rather than just traditional TVs), the organization maximized the value of its linear streams, which account for nearly a third of all its watch time. CBC was also able to utilize Google’s server-side beaconing product to deliver monetized streams on older devices that were unable to integrate with the Interactive Media Ads SDK. According to the broadcaster, DAI’s server-side ad insertion solution was easier to implement and maintain than client-side ads, especially on CTV platforms, and it ultimately improved CBC’s operational efficiency.

These benefits were also apparent in CBC’s reporting dashboards. After implementing DAI, the organization grew available inventory by 171%, and boosted programmatic fill rates by 30%.

“More and more Canadians are choosing to consume media online and on multiple platforms. CBC Radio-Canada felt that a Server-side Ad Insertion solution was needed to supply those users with content on multiple platforms while offering monetization mechanics as well. Google's DAI solution's seamless integration into Google Ad Manager made it the obvious turnkey choice. As we make plans for future investment in CTV with an eye on where users want to watch, we plan to work with Google to make sure we are building out the technology to meet our users' demands”

Jeff MacPherson, Director of Monetization and Services, CBC

Maintaining and growing audience connections

After the success of its digital transformation, CBC has no intention of slowing down. The organization closely follows market trends and stays up-to-date with the latest in digital streaming technology to better serve and engage with its audiences. Wherever viewers are, whichever screens they’re on, CBC will continue expanding its tools and capabilities to meet them there with relevant, quality content and ads. And, with a little help from Ad Manager, they’ll continue refining the delicate balance between revenue goals and a great user experience.

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